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[FYI] Towards a Europe of innovation and knowledge


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Towards a Europe of innovation and knowledge

 DN: CES/00/16     Date: 2000-03-06

     Word Processed: FR EN DE NL IT SW FI EL


[Graphic in PDF & Word format]  

Brussels, 2 March 2000 

Towards a Europe of innovation and knowledge

The European Economic and Social Committee has just adopted an own-
initiative opinion on "Employment, economic reform and social cohesion
- Towards a Europe of Innovation and Knowledge". The rapporteur was
Peter MORGAN (UK) and the co-rapporteur Ursula ENGELEN- KEFER

Looking ahead to the Lisbon Summit on 23/24 March next, and as part of
the European Employment Pact (EEP) process, the Portuguese presidency
has stressed the emergence of a new paradigm, that of the economy of
innovation and knowledge.  

The Committee intends to help step up the dialogue on a European
employment strategy. It is convinced that Europe does have the
necessary innovation, creativity, knowledge and enterprise, and that
these capabilities must be encouraged. With this in mind, the
Portuguese presidency's strategic objective - to make the EU the
world's most dynamic and competitive economic area, with more and
better jobs and greater social cohesion - is feasible over the next
ten years.  

The Committee proposes the following agenda for the Lisbon Summit: 

adapt the social models to the new paradigm (removal of barriers to
employment, more flexible working hours, reform of financing
structures, avoid social exclusion and reinforce equal opportunities);

achieve mass training in Information Society Technologies, in the
process of becoming basic life skills and opening up new
opportunities. Private and public initiatives, involving different age
groups, are needed;  

popularise and facilitate the growth of the enterprise culture (make
the enterprise culture appealing to young people, fiscal changes, cut
red tape, create an environment conducive to the formation and
development of new companies);  

help companies to convert to the new paradigm. Innovation must apply
in all areas of business operation. Enterprises must be more flexible
and adaptable, less hierarchical. Companies, trade unions and public
authorities must help workers to re-train for new jobs;  

adapt education and training to the new paradigm. Promote the 
knowledge society, in particular by prioritising a new approach to
teaching and learning science and technology and by forging a closer
link between theory and its industrial application;  

harness sustainable development for innovation and growth.  

A new paradigm, the Committee concludes, might be need for government
itself, bearing in mind that the public expects not only that rules
and regulations are observed, but also that services are provided
properly and efficiently.  

For the full text of the opinion and any further information contact
Mrs Lindahl, 

Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship 

(tel.: 546.92.54 - e.mail: katarina.lindahl@ces.be) 

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